Are Social Networking Dollars Worth it?

GM pulls from Facebook Stock

Recent news that GM has pulled $10M out of investment in Facebook because it “has little impact on costumer car purchases” lends to more speculation of the company’s just launched IPO. That left me wondering in what world does GM marketers live in that they think social media has little impact?

The problem is not that Facebook (and it’s billion users) have little impact, but that whoever is managing GM’s advertising budget thinks it can play by broadcast and print rules despite our digital world. Something I like to compare to playing monopoly with chess pieces.

Let me explain:

As I’ve mentioned before in my entry about storytelling in the age of technology, digital — and particularly social media — has created a new set of rules for marketing and advertising. The passive ads that once worked well for print and broadcast media are unlikely to have the same results no matter how creative or brilliant they may be. For digital audiences, reading is not enough; they want to participate. Ads, banners and other intrusive tactics can’t compete with the on-going conversations digital media encourages.

In other words, digital is not just another medium; it’s a different way to interact, and that calls for robust narratives open to debate and interpretation. Advertising is transforming into content, capable of listening, talking, engaging and amusing.

Not only have the pieces of the game changed, so have the rules. A winning strategy used to be guaranteed with a deep pocket. The old equation: cost per impact, frequency, and reach were set in stone and ensured to corner an audience. Today the strategy is less numerical and more analytical. Every move produces data, and it is in how a company uses this information that determines its success.

But not all companies are confused by this new world. Just look at this new ad, Coca Cola content 2012 video, that shows how the brand continues to top it’s game by understanding the rules of the digital arena.

In the meantime, at our agency, we have spent the past three years reinventing ourselves. Combining the best of both worlds, using strategic pieces, such as robust branding stories and accurate direct conversations, to play in the everyday changing gameboard of digital and social media. And we find this quite exciting.

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May 20th, 2012 6 Comments Social Networking